Daryl Rowe
Daryl Rowe

As of June 30, Daryl Rowe will bid farewell to her position as the Diocese’s financial director, a position she has held for nearly 26 years, to direct attention on a new chapter in her life: retirement.

Sitting in her second-floor office in the Chancery, Lawrenceville, the Wall Township resident, who arrived in the Diocese in July 1991 after having previously worked in the corporate world, fondly recalled her job interview with then-Bishop John C. Reiss and Msgr. William F. Fitzgerald, diocesan vicar general. At the end of their meeting, Bishop Reiss, who was impressed with her credentials – including a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Trenton State College, Ewing, and a master of business administration from New Mexico University – had offered her the job and noted that she “was a first.”

When Rowe asked the Bishop what he meant, he responded that she would be the first woman in the Diocese to hold the financial director position.

Working for the Diocese has been “much different” than the corporate world, Rowe said, noting that she found it surprising and refreshing to work in a less-competitive environment. She has also appreciated opportunities to join her colleagues in attending spiritual events, which is something “you don’t find in the corporate world.”

Reviewing highlights of the past 26 years, Rowe shared how during her first year with the Diocese, she computerized the accounting and finance systems, which resulted in timely reporting and significant savings in the annual certified audit fee. Soon after, she arranged for the Lay Pension Plan to undergo a certified audit by an outside accounting firm, something that had not been done prior to her arrival.

Keeping up with ever-evolving technology, Rowe said that when the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (now Annual Catholic Appeal) was initiated, she assisted with selecting a state-of-the-art fundraising software package that continues to be used today for keeping records of various campaigns and ministry programs. In 2005, she implemented the formalized Parish Internal Audit Function to include full-scope audits of all parishes and schools, and created a manual entitled “Diocesan Internal Controls and More” for the same. In 2007, she arranged for a Parish Forgiveness of Debt Program that allowed the Diocese to forgive the parishes’ several million dollars of old debt to the Diocese. 

Along with serving as a member of numerous committees including the Diocesan Budget Committee, Investment Committee and Construction & Real Estate Committee, as well as supporting the Diocesan Finance Council, she, in more recent years, has provided assistance to top management in establishing various charitable trusts to assure asset protection of the Diocese. She was also instrumental in the migration of parishes from stand-alone accounting systems to a consolidated system (Connect Now).

In putting aspects of her daily work routine aside – such as her commute from Wall Township to Lawrenceville, attending budget hearings,  and being a go-to person for parishes, schools and other diocesan agencies when dealing with financial issues – Rowe said she is looking forward to keeping a much more relaxed schedule. She plans to spend more time with her 91-year-old mother “who lives five minutes from me,” and chip away at her two “bucket lists.”

On the long-term bucket list, she’s planning to travel to Italy, Hawaii and go on a golf cruise, while she has jotted down on her short-term list to improve her golf game, spend more time exercising at the gym and volunteer for a nonprofit organization.

If there’s one thing Rowe’s learned over the years, it is that “people are more important than numbers.”

“The objectives between the corporate world and the Church are different,” she said. “Here, it’s not a cut-throat type of environment. Here, people are working together to accomplish a goal.”